What a Difference Coffee Makes

I want to take a second to really focus on something that may sound dumb.  Something I said before, but may have sounded like an off-the-cuff kind of thing.  Like a joke. But it wasn’t a joke. It isn’t.  It’s very, very real.

Coffee (finding the Holy Grail) has changed my life.

 To many people, that probably sounds really really dumb.  Like, come on girl, it’s just coffee.

But is it?

Is it just coffee?

Is it just coffee, or is it reclaiming something from a previous culture that I thought I lost?  Is it one small comfort that had been a routine in my life for over 10 years, that I had to give up during one of the most difficult challenges I have had to face?  Is it, perhaps, a little piece of home that has brought me a little more sanity?

 It’s all of those things, and so much more.

For people who have had to make a huge life adjustment, like moving to a new (and very different) country (or maybe town), you know what I’m talking about.  There’s little things that you may or may not have known were important to you in your old life, that you suddenly don’t have anymore.  Maybe it’s that specific brand of cookie, a lotion that you love, or a special place you liked to go during your free time. But now, it’s not there. On top of the struggle of giving up the life you knew, and shaped, for the last (however many) years you’ve been on this earth… you lost your security blanket too.  That thing that helped keep you grounded, regardless of what you’d been going through.  Something that was always there.

 After  while, you get used to its absence. You’ve gotten past it.  That was part of your old life, and you don’t need it now.

But then…then it’s back.

You have it again!

And you realize you didn’t really get used to it. You hadn’t gotten past it at all.

And slowly, things start feeling more normal.  You start to own the life you have now, instead of just getting through it on a daily basis.  You look forward to the next morning again, because, even if you don’t have anything to do (for now)- you have a cup of coffee to enjoy in the morning.

And for me, that’s enough.

Next on the list? Getting our own apartment, maybe learning how to drive stick, putting myself out there (friend wise)…

But I’ll do all that after my first cup.

With coffee to start my day, I can do anything.

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Drowning

I had a nightmare that I was drowning.

It didn’t start out that way, of course.  Most of my nightmares start with me being unable to control my car in some way, then it rolling off with me in it into some bad situation.

This time, it was into an ocean that was pitch black.  I tried to swim, but the water was thick like molasses.  I knew it was a nightmare because water isn’t like that,  and I know my own nightmare trends (I am prone to aware nightmares/dreams)… But for a minute I couldn’t wake up.  Lifting my eyelids was like lifting ten tons of concrete. 

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I haven’t been feeling well lately, and I blame the weather.  This sudden heat has given me daily headaches, neck-aches , and a little bit of a stomach ache (but I’m not sure if that’s from heat or something else).  Compounded on top of my already dour mood,  I haven’t been all that pleasant.

Of course, drowning doesn’t help.

I feel like I’m drowning here.  Not in Turkey, but in this over crowded house.  I know hubby is too, but there’s not a damn thing to do about it now.  No one seems to be aware of nor care how uncomfortable we are. 

All.  The.  Time. 

We are always expected to do things when we don’t want to do them.  Expected to dress a certain way and act a certain way and speak a certain way… And you can only put up with it for so long before you explode. 

While hubby tells me to do my best, his struggles are much different from mine.  Yes, he has to deal with his own inner demons and social/familial pressures to provide for all of us (which is kinda bs in my opinion,  why are you looking at us for money when we both are unemployed? Here.  Take all our life’s savings.  Just take it.  We don’t need it or anything.).

But a gelins pressures are different.

Like I’ve told you before, the women in the house are kind of like a maid.  Particularly gelins,  because they are at the whim of their mother in law.  Sure, I can always say no, or not get up to help when I hear work noises, but I’ve heard them gossip about the girls in the family who are “lazy” and “unhelpful”.  On one side,  I don’t really care what they think.  But on the other side,  I live here so I’m trying to not make it too awkward.

With the heat it’s been especially hard, since I live in the same house as my brother in law (BIL) (with no AC mind you), so I have to be full on covered unless he is at work.  Our room doesn’t even have a lock, so I’m always waiting anxiously to have to throw on all my clothes again in case BIL wants to talk to his abey. 

Everything is just accumulating. 

NO I don’t want to clean the kitchen right now,  my head hurts.

NO I don’t want to hang the laundry,  it’s hot and I have to wear all my clothes to go outside.

NO I don’t want to eat!

NO I don’t want to go anywhere!

NO don’t move the stuff I put in our room!

JUST LEAVE ME ALONE BEFORE I DROWN!!!

The in laws will be leaving for the beach soon and we should have the majority of every month to ourselves for the summer.  I know we will be feeling much better then…

But for now,  I have to keep holding my breath.

Flailing my arms.

Trying not to drown.

A Visit From a Friend

A friend from America came to visit me!

Well, that sounds rather dramatic- doesn’t it?  Actually, she had moved to Turkey just short of a month before we did- in search of a job.  Her parents being from Turkey, she has the great advantage of already speaking Turkish fairly well.

Anyway, that’s her back story to tell.

It was so nice having a fellow American in the house for a few days! We had a great time visiting the beach, shopping at the boardwalk, and exploring the Pazar!

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However, this visit did make me realize that I need to work harder on my Turkish.  While I thought I was getting better- she mowed me down with her amazing grasp of Turkish language, grammar, and cultural expressions (mashallah).  Although she insistently told me that my Turkish is getting pretty good, I can’t help but feel like I am so far behind.  I know I can do better, but I guess it’s something that takes time.  We’ve only been here for a few weeks- after all.

I prepared many delicious foods with Anne while our guest was here, and I will be sharing a few recipes with you shortly!

Leave America at the airport

While rocking together on a porch swing in the cool Mediterranean night, my husband turned to me and asked

How are you feeling about Turkey?

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Naturally, my first instinct was to say “good!” but, I wanted to give a more detailed answer than that.  Between jet lag and all of the running around we had been doing, I had been very tired recently and he was worried about how quiet I had been for the week we had been there- and that I hadn’t been my normal, bubbly self.

  I assure you all, I am just exhausted.  

But anyway, I started to really think about how I felt about Turkey. Really. And the word that kept coming to my mind was

different

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But not different in a bad way, like how my mom uses it to describe food she doesn’t like…but different in a..different sort of way.  I know you shouldn’t use the same word to define or describe a word, but there it is.  Turkey is different than the US. It just is.  If you come here looking for a western experience, you are going to be very disappointed.  The traffic is different, the speaking is different, the way of showing affection is different, the buildings are different, the lifestyle is different… the only thing that isn’t different is that we all bleed the same blood.  It is so different.

I can understand how culture shock could flatten a lot of people who aren’t prepared for this huge change.  I suffered it myself the first time we came four years ago.  Fortunately I know what to expect this time around, and have been mentally preparing myself for this change for several years.  Also, I have the huge benefit of the love and support of family (in Turkey and back int he US) while I am here.  That definitely helps take the edge off.

A bit of advice to those struggling with a culture adjustment- jump in with both feet and leave America (or wherever you are from) at the airport.  Fighting against your new home will only make you miserable.  Embrace it, enjoy it, and find the parts that give you comfort.

I hope it keeps working for me too :).

A change of opinion

My husband and I have been enjoying the first two days of our vacation (mashallah), sunshine and blue skies!  This has been more than a break for us thusfar, it’s been a chance for us to think about our current situation as far as school is concerned. and where we want to go from here.   Last night we began looking at real estate for this area, just for fun.  How expensive is it to live on an island? Ofcourse, as you  can probably imagne, the prices ranged between 100k-300k, regardless of location on the island.  Well, what about in Turkey?  We then looked up real estate in the small ocean town where the in-laws have built a beach house (a long project that’s been around since before the hubby was born).  The price was still around 100k…turkish lira.  If you aren’t familiar with the conversion factor at this time (April 2014), it’s 2.13 (USD->TL). So that means… about 50K dollars.  WHAT?  yes. An Agean sea view apartment, 2 or 3 bedrooms, 50k dollars.

At this point the hubby shared with me that if we both could work in the US, even for one year, we could make more than twice that much together.  He expressed a desire to work in the US, even if it’s only for a few years.  Surely, he stated, this would give us a huge leg up financially in Turkey.  I nodded my head, smiling, then opened my mouth and said:

“But I wan’t to live in Turkey.”

Hm, since when did THAT happen?  I surprised myself with this candid statement.  He smiled and said that he knew that I would be happy living in Turkey.  But I still can’t help but wonder when my opinion on this matter became so concrete.  Turkey seemed like a cloud on the horizon, perhaps there is a silver lining somewhere- but it was a cloud none the less.  But now,  there is no doubt in my mind that I want to experience life in Turkey!  The food, the culture, the life style…I want it all!  Whether or not I could work in Turkey, I don’t know, but I know I wan’t to try!  Additionally, I miss my in-laws!  Being in University,  I am not close to either my in-laws or my own family.  Indeed, I don’t even hear from my own family as frequently as I hear from my in-laws (once a month/ every two weeks vs every weekend).  I’m not angry or accusing my family of not caring, they are simply busy, working, while my in-laws are retired.  Still, there is no doubt that I love them all, and living further and further away from my own family makes living in Turkey seem less difficult (on a personal front).

So where does that leave us now?  Well, struggling to finish our degrees seems to be the case.  He is still unsure if he can take his PhD at this rate, but I am always the encouraging voice in the background.  Hayirlisi olsun.  Whatever comes next is nasip.